should I apologize if my fly is down, telling my bosses they need to work more, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Should I tell my bosses they need to work more?

I work at a small real estate brokerage in a major U.S. city. I was brought in to help organize their systems and to increase productivity. The owners are a married couple and I’m their second in command. My bosses say they want to do more business, but they rarely work and leave for weeks at a time. When averaged, I estimate they work for one hour a day. But they honestly believe they are incredibly busy high-functioning professionals.

I like them as people and want to tell them the problem so that they can be successful. However, they would be certainly be offended and regularly ignore my counsel on other matters as it is. Do I tell them where the problem truly lies? I’m currently looking for a new job, but I will still need their reference in the future. (This is the highest level job I’ve had thus far.) So do I ever tell them?

It doesn’t sound like there would be much point. They already regularly ignore your counsel! There’s no reason to think this would be any different, particularly when you’d be advising them to make what would amount to a major lifestyle shift. And even if that weren’t the case, it’s not like “if you want more business, you need to work for more than an hour a day” is a particularly difficult-to-obtain insight. Surely they’re capable of connecting those dots themselves if they want to. If they want more business, they’ll work more. It seems like they don’t want it enough to do that.

It’s not your job to try to find a way to get through to them, particularly when you’re concerned you could offend them and jeopardize future references. Enjoy the spectacle of two people believing they’re incredibly busy while working an hour a day and keep searching for a new job.

Read an update to this letter here.

2. Should I apologize for my fly being down?

I’m male, and I was talking with one of my female coworkers last week for about 10 minutes, and then I went back to my desk and sat down and I realized that my fly was open the whole time we were chatting. Do you think I should apologize the next time I see her or just say nothing?

Say nothing. It happens. If you’d noticed while you were talking to her, you could have said, “Excuse me!” and turned away and fixed it. But unless you have a very bad reputation, she assumed it was an accident (if she noticed at all) and bringing it up afterwards would only make things awkward. (If anything, bringing it afterwards might push things slightly toward the “is he creeping on me?” end of the spectrum).

Wardrobe malfunctions happen!

3. Should I talk to my boss about herpes?

I have bad bouts of herpes two or three times a year. Usually it comes on when I’m a bit run down after a cold, or stressed at work, or having a a home life crisis.

When I get the flare, I usually feel like I have the flu for a few days beforehand — achy, headaches, lethargy etc. Then, the skin lesions for five days, and at that point I feel a bit tired and grouchy. It takes about a week after the lesions disappear for me to feel well again. So, I can feel unwell or lingeringly tired for about three to four weeks.

Prior to the pandemic, I just “kept on and carried on,” coping with drooping eyelids at work, taking occasional painkillers and anti-virals. Since the pandemic, I’ve had one flare only and was able to work from my bed during that time. I was amazed at how much faster I recovered — it took only a week to feel well again and I was significantly less unwell than usual.

I’d like to have a script to present to my team leader (who is a bit of a stickler for presenteeism in non-pandemic times and I suspect will revert to that when things go back to normal) to ask that I’m allowed to work from home if I’m feeling a flare coming on in the future. Do I mention what condition is causing this? I’ve learned to live with herpes and don’t feel any particular shame about it anymore, but don’t want to overshare.

Of note, my productivity initially took a dip at the beginning of the pandemic, but I’m now more productive than I was in-office. Of second note, I don’t need advice on how to manage this condition. I’m big on integrating self-care with conventional medicine, so if there’s a remedy, I’ve tried it!

Nope, don’t specify that it’s herpes. You really don’t need to share details about any medical condition at work. And even if you’re comfortable sharing it, your team leader is likely to feel like it’s too much personal information that she doesn’t need and would rather not have.

The “doesn’t need” part is important there — you can ask for what you want without naming a diagnosis. You could simply say, “I have a medical condition that flares up a couple of times a year, and I usually feel unwell for three to four weeks when it happens. During the pandemic, I was able to work from home when it happened and I found I recovered much faster — in only a week — and felt much less sick than usual. Now that I know it shortens my recovery so significantly, would you be open to me working from home in the future when I have a flare-up? It would likely be one week two or three times a year.”

4. A piece from my portfolio has a term I wouldn’t use now

In 2013, I published a short pop history article in a magazine. It was well received, and the next year I won an industry award for it. Naturally, I added the article to my writing portfolio.

In 2018, the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formally asked people to stop using the popular term (Mormons) for the Church and its members. My article had the term prominently in the title and throughout the text. I took it out of my portfolio at once, but it’s still floating around online, including in connection with the award it received.

How should I handle questions about this article? Right now, my script is something on the order of, “The article used a term broadly accepted at the time. I wouldn’t use that term today, so I’ve taken it out of my portfolio.”

Keep it in your portfolio! You won an award for it, after all. Just include a note leading into it that says, “This article was written before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked people to stop using the term ‘Mormons’ and thus the term appears throughout.”

I think you intentionally avoided using the term in your proposed script, but doing that is likely to confuse people who aren’t aware of the church’s request and won’t know what you’re referencing.

5. I run two fan accounts for musicians — can it go on my resume?

I have somewhat-unusual online experience that I’d like to include in my resume or cover letter. I currently run two “official” fan/update Instagram accounts for musicians. In addition to posting about their new songs, albums, interviews, etc., I also make photo and video edits, and post my own art (drawing/painting) related to the artists.

For the more famous of the two artists, there are about 30 accounts from 18 different countries in a group chat with a representative from the artist’s management team — that’s the “official” part. The rep sends us promo content to post, and if live shows ever come back, we’ll be the ones they’ll call if they need help in our respective cities. For the just-starting-out artist, I have direct contact with both the artist and her manager, and they send me exclusive content and information before it’s officially released.

For the larger artist, I’m the most followed account and the “president” of our worldwide fan club. For the smaller, I’m basically the only active update account, and definitely the only one who she talks to regularly.

Bonus, if it matters: about 95% of my posting and communication are done in my second language (for both accounts).

I’m now trying to change careers into something music-marketing-related. Can I include these accounts on my resume, or talk about them in my cover letter more or less how I’ve explained them here? I’m taking online classes in both music business and marketing, but I don’t have much experience otherwise. (And if any readers are in this industry and want to throw out suggestions, I’d love those too!)

Yes! It’s directly relevant to the work you’re hoping to do in music marketing.

For anyone wondering why this is different from yesterday’s letter about helping to home-school relatives and swapping tutoring with friends: This has outside accountability to people who aren’t friends or family, and the letter writer has built something that’s visible online for employers to look at. It’s much more akin to a volunteer job or running a volunteer organization.

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 293 comments… read them below }

        1. Haven’t picked a user name yet*

          I read that as the commenter is a member of LDS, not Alison. (Not that it matters)

        2. Rayray*

          fellow church member here, and I super appreciate it. I was listening to This American Life one time and the reporter (former church member) blatantly refused to go by the AP standards and even went on a little spiel about it. I appreciate people who maintain professionalism in their work and I think Allison’s advice is absolutely right. We changed things at one point, but we can all accept that for many years the term Mormon was accepted by mainstream Latter-Day Saints.

          1. Donkey Hotey*

            To the point of all their commercials ending with “Brought to you by the CoJCoLDS…. The Mormons!”

            I am 100% with Allison’s advice and would also go so far as to say: Unless you are applying at the Deseret News, the Utah Daily Herald, or the Ensign, no one is going to notice or care. They will notice the award. Leaving an award-winning article off your portfolio is foot marksmanship.

            Full disclosure: Utah native, descendent of the Nauvoo immigrants, thrice great grandfather wrote a folk song still in use today and also the distinction of being excommunicated from the church twice.

          2. Self Employed*

            That is SOOOO typical of This American Life! They really seem proud of being “mavericks” for the sake of edginess sometimes.

      1. Double A*

        This was why I was confused by the LW’s wording. Saying “a term no longer commonly accepted” definitely makes it sounds like a slur. I’m sure I would read the whole article wondering which word they were talking about.

        1. Manana*

          I definitely understand the advice, I am just confused by the LW’s letter and their response to this information.

          1. Talia*

            This – the way the LW is handling this makes it sound like they have ignorantly used some sort of bigoted slur not realising at the time that’s what the word is which I think sounds much worse than what actually happened

          2. with a comma after dearest*

            The OP is a journalist. She’s concerned that using a term which the AP style guide and the Church advise against make her look like a careless or disrespectful journalist – out of touch with style/politeness norms – not someone to hire.

            I don’t think this concern is valid because of the timing, and I agree with Alison’s advice on how to handle it. But I think she’s concerned with how a hiring manager will perceive reading it.

            1. writerly*

              It’s fairly common among journalists to use organization-specific style guides, and VERY common for them to understand that style changes. No hiring manager would even notice or care about it for journalism jobs, or even freelance assignments. AP style changes ALL THE DANG TIME. We understand that.

              As a journalist who deals with all sorts of style rules, I, too, thought it was weird that the LW treated the word as if it would be offensive, rather than just a matter of … style. There’s certainly no need to take award-winning work out of a portfolio.

              1. writerly*

                It’s like being offended that one of your clips uses the Oxford comma. “Oh well we can’t hire this person, they don’t know ANYTHING,” said no hiring manager or editor ever.

                1. EmbracesTrees*

                  The Oxford comma protects reputations!
                  The bus was full of crazy people, you and your friends.
                  We invited the strippers, Trump and Putin.
                  The bus was full of crazy people, you, and your friends.
                  We invited the strippers, Trump, and Putin.

                  (I’m a firm proponent (of, you know, accuracy and clarity lol) and had a fun “battle” with our former Public Relations person, who insisted it is the devil.)

              2. MCMonkeybean*

                Yeah, the idea of removing the article from their portfolio and the way they made sure to exclude the word from even their script definitely treats this like a much more delicate situation than it is. I think they are really overthinking it.

                It’s great that they are being conscientious about what people want to be called, but there is no need to treat this like some sort of shameful history.

      2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I think this is the entire issue. In trying to be discreet, LW risks sounding as though she casually used a slur (goodness knows there’s plenty of hate speech that used to be common parlance).

        1. Scarlet2*

          Yeah, that’s why I think Alison’s wording is better. The original wording would immediately make me think about a slur or bigoted language.

          1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

            Exactly. And its why I love Alison’s wording. (And now I have to go see what this is all about as I’ve not heard it before and it seems like something I probably should know moving forward.)

        2. Allonge*

          Exactly. Whereas this is more like a case of a company or organisation changing their name later on, which is not something you need to account for in the absence of clairvoyant capabilities.

          I think it feels more sensitive as it is connected to religion, but still, not something that OP should have known at the time of writing. And easily solved by what Alison proposes.

        3. FunTimes*

          This. Alison’s wording is much better. I like to consider myself a well-read person, but I had never heard that “Mormon” was not generally accepted anymore. I’d be scouring the article to find the offensive word, which is the opposite of what the LW intended!

          1. Amaranth*

            I’d get stuck wondering how something could be so awful it had to be omitted — and why a professional writer would then use it. It sounds like OP wasn’t even listing the title, so then it would mean tracking it down by the award and year and…seriously, I’d be down the rabbit hole trying to figure this out! I’m not sure that’s the lasting impression OP wants to make with their CV.

      3. Harvey JobGetter*

        The Mormon church asked people to stop using that (and related) terms multiple times before this article was published in 2013. I’m not sure why it suddenly matters that they asked in 2018.

        1. Jennifer Thneed*

          I think the point is that the Associated Press changed its guidelines in 2019. That’s a big deal.

        1. Latter-day Saint*

          The link Alison provided above does a great job of summarizing things. If you are referring to our church, we’d prefer that you use the whole name–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you’re referring to the members, please call us Latter-day Saints.

          1. Another Latter-day Saint*

            Yep, this. It’s not a big deal to most people, but it is an important distinction for us, as we want to ensure it’s clear our gospel centers on Jesus Christ and His name is used appropriately.

  1. Julia*

    1, 2, and 3: kudos to Alison for being professional enough not to reply to all three letters with one “hell no!” and leave it at that!

    1. Joan Rivers*

      #1 – Here’s a different take on it.
      You get paid to advise them, and they’re paying you to advise them. So they seem to know they need help.
      Maybe you should advise them that you should run the co. [in their absence. Since they’re absent a lot.]
      Only if you’d WANT TO, of course, but you obviously do want to work for them now. So, you could nudge them in the direction of continuing to pay you, but to actually run it.

      Instead of confronting them, tell them what “someone” needs to be doing every day that they’re not. They can’t claim they’re doing those things. It’ll sound boring to them, I bet.

      1. Writer of #1*

        Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply! I have actually done something similar but that would require me to get a real estate license and they’ve specifically told me they don’t want me to get one. It would change my salary significantly (since I would then get commissions) and they have no intension of ever paying me more than the office assistant salary they hired me on. (I’ve been promoted without a raise in pay multiple times now).

        1. sacados*

          Yikes. Well good luck on your search then.
          And definitely keep that in mind if you use a script like above. You risk them deciding that the “someone” who should be doing all these things is you — but without actually paying you anything more for it.
          If you prefer to just keep your head down and not rock the boat so you can get out of there with good reference intact, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

          1. Paulina*

            IMHO I think they’ve already decided this, and that the “lack of productivity” is on the OP and whatever other employees they have, not themselves. They seem intent on retaining all the power (and commissions) while still wanting others to do the work for them. Good luck in the job search, OP.

        2. Katrinka*

          The only thing I would point out is that they may be working during their absences from the office and at other times, if they are actively bringing clients to the company. I’ve worked for a “rainmaker” attorney and a lot of his job was wining and dining, golfing, etc. He had million dollar clients and was very good at what he did (without being smarmy – he was good at discussing issues and pointing out to companies why they needed our help with compliance). He was out of the office a lot, but his billables and receivables were very high.

        3. Amaranth*

          Oh, one of those companies where the added responsibilities ARE the reward. Glad you’re looking around.
          I agree with Joan Rivers, if you really feel obligated to keep trying, simply make a list of recommendations and how they would benefit the company, along with ‘I already do x and y and you’d need to handle z and p or hire another person/outside company.’

          Then stop worrying about improvements they aren’t going to make.

        4. Paulina*

          I must admit I’m not sure why you like them personally, LW1. Perhaps their manner is quite nice, but it sounds like they’re trying to get maximum revenue out of their business (and out of you!) with minimum effort on their part. Insisting that you not get a real estate license because then you’d get commissions implies that you’re already doing some of the the work that would earn that commission, but not getting a cut. Or a raise at all despite multiple promotions. Their actions seem mean even if their manner is not.

  2. Julia*

    Also, it bums me out so much that herpes has the stigma it does. I mean, even if it there were no stigma I’d still agree you shouldn’t give medical details to your boss, but the stigma is a huge bummer anyway.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah, this. Herpes is also incredibly common, up to 50% of American adults are infected with HSV-1 and almost 10% have HSV-2 and both can show up as either genital or oral herpes, although HSV-2 is the typical genital herpes and it’s transmitted through sexual contact. Most people get HSV-1 before the age of 5 through sharing utensils with their parents, or by parents kissing their children on the mouth (IMO a gross habit, and not only because it increases the risk of caries in kids). The thing is, for most people it’s completely asymptomatic so they never know they have it. (I’m rather curious how healthcare authorities have arrived at these infection rates when they’re mostly asymptomatic.)

      Time to get rid of the stigma associated with herpes, because it’s so incredibly common.

      1. WS*

        (I’m rather curious how healthcare authorities have arrived at these infection rates when they’re mostly asymptomatic.)

        Blood tests! Antibodies show up if you have or have ever had herpes. So they’ll test a certain percentage of the population (or possibly use blood remaining from other blood tests) and get a population-level result from that. It’s also important to test pregnant women, because if they have active genital herpes, that can cause major issues for their baby; conversely, if they’re in the small group of people who have never had it and have no antibodies, it means their baby will have no immunity to herpes and they have to be careful in early childhood, because even a cold sore infection can seriously harm or kill an infant.

        1. allathian*

          Thanks! This helps a lot. I can’t remember if they looked for HSV in my bloodwork when I was pregnant, I suspect they did. I’ve never had a cold sore, though. I remember that my mom had cold sores occasionally when I was a teen, but she hasn’t had any after menopause. There’s a chance I caught it as a toddler, because everyone tells me I was a very picky eater and wouldn’t eat unless my mom tasted some of the food and used the same spoon…

          My dad (who AFAIK has never had any cold sores) also used to kiss both me and my sister on the mouth, until I put a stop to it when I was about 12. Until then it was a normal thing in my family, but then I had my first big crush on a classmate and fantasized about kissing him, and suddenly my dad’s completely chaste kisses felt like a violation of my boundaries. I guess I got lucky in that he had absolutely no trouble accepting that I no longer wanted him to kiss me. Or at least if he had any feelings about it, he never let me see them. But there’s absolutely no way I ever considered kissing my son on the mouth, not even when he was a baby.

          1. NotQuiteAnonForThis*

            Fairly sure that they did in mine (but that may have been specifically due to having an active cold sore from the ninth ring of Hades at the time the workup was ordered!).

          2. Cat Tree*

            My parents both kissed me on the mouth, although I think it stopped well before age 12 (I think around 7 or 8). It wasn’t until I was in my 20s and some guy shamed me about my cold sores that I realized some families don’t kiss each other like that.

            For the record, the first time I kissed a boy it was VERY different than the little pecks my parents gave.

            1. MsClaw*


              I didn’t kiss my own daughter on the mouth precisely because I didn’t want her dealing with lifelong cold sores like I have. My husband, thank goodness seems to be one of those people who are immune — he’s never had one in his entire life.

              1. Katrinka*

                My mother has herpes/cold sores but none of us kids got them. I honestly don’t know what she did when we were little, and I don’t know when they started.

      2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I never wanted to kiss my children on the mouth (because it squicked me out) but you’d better believe they didn’t get that memo, and they’re fast! so I was sometimes the unwilling recipient.

        In fact, I only managed to stop my youngest from trying to kiss my mouth because of The Plague and being mega strict about all kinds of germs.

        1. Ophelia*

          LOL, yes, trying to keep a toddler from running over and planting one on you, usually while covered in, like, peanut butter, is…challenging.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I can pretty much guarantee most people here have a herpesvirus. The virus that causes glandular fever (mono), the one that causes chicken pox etc. are all herpesviruses and once you’ve been infected they stay for good.

        I used to study the herpesvirus family so I really don’t get the stigma, given most of us have one form or another. Saying that, I am very glad of masks at the moment as I have a wicked crop of cold sores round my gob and the cracking skin alone really makes for the pain.

        1. JustaTech*

          According to a recent episode of This Podcast Will Kill You (ep57), at least part of the stigma around herpes in the US is a consequence of the Religious Right movement, who needed some kind of scare-factor to keep people from having sex after the invention of birth control and antibiotics for the usual STIs.

          In a lot of other countries herpes doesn’t have nearly the same stigma.

    2. Myrin*

      I’m always fascinated by the cultural component of stuff like that – where I’m from, herpes isn’t stigmatised at all and people talk about it freely. I guess a big factor in this is that here, people generally refer to cold sores when they use the expression, whereas it seems to me like in the US, there’s somehow a prevalence of genital herpes? (Doesn’t help the OP at all but I think it’s hugely interesting.)

      But I agree that even here, I might not talk about the details, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (Or I might, who knows. My sister has pretty bad herpes, although not as bad as OP, and she’s very open about it everywhere, including work. Certainly depends on what kind of person your boss is, too.) I think the biggest factor in weighimg hiw detailed one should get is whether it’s relevant or would influence the other person’s reaction in any way.

      1. WS*

        Yeah, I work in healthcare and a lot of people don’t connect “cold sore” and “herpes”…which is great for not stigmatising cold sores, but not so great for people who have other manifestations of the condition.

      2. Forrest*

        Where are you? I think it may be an English language thing rather than a US thing, because we definitely have the same linguistic thing here in the UK: for the most part, cold sores are the thing you get on your mouth, and a casual reference to herpes will be taken as a reference to an STI. I think a fair number of people know that cold sores and genital herpes are the same virus, but we’ve definitely got the linguistic split between “cold sores” (common, unstigmatised) and herpes (most likely N STI, and stigmatised the way all STIs are.)

        1. Myrin*

          Germany, and I’m quite sure you’re right, now that I think about it more deeply and am not on my annoying phone – it’s probably more a linguistic component than a cultural one. Our word for cold sores is simply “Herpes” and as such that’s what people think of when you use the term. If you actually mean genital herpes, you would have to specifically call it that, and I’ve never heard anyone do that outside of a biological/medical context. I would assume genital herpes carries the same stigma STIs carry here too, though.

            1. Myrin*

              It’s “Herpes”! That’s what I meant with putting it in quotation marks and capitalising it but I now realise that might’ve been unclear, lol! If you speak German, you can probably tell just from how it’s spelt but just in case: it’s pronunced like “Herr” + “pess” (as in “pessimistisch” or “Pest”) with the stress on “Her”.

            2. Susan Calvin*

              Just… Herpes. Lippenherpes, if you want to specify that it’s the mouth-area presentation.

        2. MCMonkeybean*

          Yeah, I think that’s a good breakdown of it.

          I actually even swing too far in the other direction and I often refer to the sores my husband regularly gets in his mouth as “cold sores” just cause that’s the term I feel like I hear more often but I think that’s not actually what they are. A quick google tells me they are probably “canker sores” (and that they are not contagious… so I should probably stop calling them cold sores haha).

          1. Mel_05*

            Yes, growing up my mom referred to these as cold-sores. Maybe it’s a regional thing. My parents are from Miami, but I grew up in the Midwest and was very confused by commercials for cold-sore medicine talking about how ashamed people were of their cold sores!

            1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

              It may be regional or it may be misinformation. I have older family members who don’t know that they are different things (or that cold sores are herpes).

              1. Self Employed*

                I remember yelling at an ex-boyfriend for talking about his “cold sores” after we’d been making out, without warning me beforehand. Turns out he was talking about blisters inside his lip from testing hot peppers. He didn’t realize that “cold sore” means oral herpes lesions around the mouth.

      3. Lalla*

        I disagree. I’ve defiantly think there’s some stigma in Europe about cold sores. Just like pimples and other facial flaws, people would prefer not to have cold sores. And that’s pretty much the same as the stigma in the US.

        1. Forrest*

          That’s not quite the same sort of stigma, I don’t think–everyone would prefer not to have a painful and visible condition! But there’s a difference between conditions that people think are just painful and/or ugly but unlucky, like eczema, and conditions where people think you only get them if you’re immoral or dirty. That’s what people mean when they talk about the stigma of STIs: it’s not just “oh, I wouldn’t like to have that”, it’s “I assume you got that doing something you shouldn’t have: it’s your fault.”

          1. Lalla*

            That’s my point. In both the US and Europe, the stigma against cold sores is based more on them being ugly than based on them being immoral and dirty. Only the most prudish and misinformed people would think that a cold sore makes a person immoral. 

            1. Forrest*

              I don’t think that’s what Myrin is saying. In English we make the distinction between saying, “ugh, I have a cold sore” (normal thing to say in the workplace!) and “ugh, I have herpes” (considered TMI in most English-speaking workplaces, because even though cold sores and herpes are the same thing, we usually only use the word herpes to refer to the STI.) In German, they’re both, “ach, der Herpes”, so saying you have herpes isn’t stigmatised because people will assume you mean a cold sore, not genital herpes.

              1. Myrin*

                I think Lalla was replying to you, not me but yeah, you totally got it, and also, I had to laugh out loud at “Ach, der Herpes”; that’s so charmingly nonchalant!

            2. Myrin*

              I feel like the two of you are talking past each other a little?
              But I also think you might be using the word “stigma” in a way it’s not normally used, or at least more loosely than its general usage – even if something is widely recognised as ugly or unsightly, that doesn’t automatically mean there’s a stigma against.

            3. MCMonkeybean*

              Only the most prudish and misinformed people would think that a cold sore makes a person immoral.

              But that’s literally what makes it a “stigma.” Things that just make a person think “oh, I wouldn’t want that” are not stigmatized. No one *wants* to have any disease.

              1. MCMonkeybean*

                [I forgot to put quotation marks around the first sentence, but obviously I am quoting the comment I replied to]

      4. Cat Tree*

        No, there isn’t a prevalence of genital herpes in the US. Cold sores are much more common, because they obviously spread much more easily. We just hear more about the genital version because of the stigma around it.

        1. Kitty*

          I’m not even sure what “prevalence of genital herpes” means here. A quick google search says that herpes is more prevalent in Europe than North America.

          1. Myrin*

            I’m not an English native speaker so I think I worded that clumsily, my apologies – I meant that it seemed to me that when English speakers (I said “in the US” but I should’ve used “English speakers”, I’ve since realised) say “herpes”, they predominantly mean “genital herpes”, whereas when people here say “herpes” (same word, just pronunced differently), they basically always mean “cold sores”.

            1. Cat Tree*

              Oh, I see what you mean. The US is huge so there may be some regional variation, but in my experience cold sores are only called herpes when someone wants to link it to genital herpes in a shaming way.

    3. Yennefer of Vengerberg*

      As a herpes sufferer, moving to Europe has helped me greatly in coming to terms with it. In North America, there’s a huge stigma and I definitely felt extremely self conscious growing up with herpes flares. In Europe, it’s common and no one cares. I now feel how immature North Americans are with it – I mean it’s so common for movies or shows to make some offhand herpes jab. Before it stung, now I just roll my eyes.

      1. MK*

        I cannot speak for all of Europe, but in my country people differentiate between genital herpes and the other types. Genital herpes does carry the stigma of STDs, but people don’t associate it with oral herpes or zoster.

        1. Scarlet2*

          I also live in Europe and people make the same distinction between “cold sores” and “herpes” in the 3 countries I’ve lived in.

          1. Yennefer of Vengerberg*

            Good point! I’m referring to my own experience with “cold sores”. I speak 2 European (non-English) languages. In one, there is a word that distinguishes facial and genital herpes and in the other both are referred to as “herpes”. I think STDs in general have a disproportionate stigma (getting a bacterial infection on your foot = okay. Getting gonorrhea = omfg noooo). Europe is not immune from that stigma, but at least people here don’t have the “cold sore” stigma.

          2. allathian*

            That’s true. The thing is, you can also have “genital herpes” (HSV-2) that manifests itself as cold sores around the mouth as a result of oral sex. It’s also possible to be infected with both.

            1. Scarlet2*

              True, but I’m not sure most people are even aware that it’s the same virus, which makes the stigma on HSV-2 even more silly (not that I think STIs should be stigmatized anyway – I don’t understand how so many people think there’s something shameful about STIs since the vast majority of us have sex at some point in our lives and are therefore potentially exposed to them).

              1. voyager1*

                Actually not true. HSV1 and HSV2 are transmitted the same way, via a break in the skin. Obviously oral sex is one way, but most people contact herpes via non-sexual contact… things like sharing drinks or straws or forks/spoons. Either virus can manifest its self in any place.

        2. micklethwaite*

          This is my experience in the UK – a cold sore is considered just one of those things, but if you say ‘herpes’ you probably mean genital herpes and there is a degree of stigma.

        3. Lalla*

          It’s the same in the US. We use “core sore” for oral herpes and “herpes” almost always means genital herpes.

          I’m actually not sure which one the LW is talking about. The letter makes it sound like it could be either.

    4. Cross and dominant*

      There’s an interesting TEDx talk (STI’s aren’t a consequence, they’re inevitable) and article (Why I love telling people I have herpes) by Ella Dawson, if you’re interested.

    5. HerpesOP#3*

      OP who wrote the Herpes letter here.

      Thanks Alison for giving me the definitive answer about this! I am from Europe originally and now work in the US in a government office so to me it wasn’t so bad telling the reason for repeated unwellness. But I think that if it’s considered oversharing in the US I’ll stick with that.

      I didn’t mention what kind of HSV I had because of the stigma. It’s actually severe cold sores that I get. I’m on daily antivirals because they are so bad and I once ended up in hospital with ocular herpes, so that was scary. I agree with Julia, Allathian and all you who wrote that it’s worth thinking about that one kind of herpes (cold sores) is considered a bit gross but not stigatizing, but genital herpes is seen as a kind of stigma. You only have to look at covid to see how viruses aren’t very discriminating and I wish that people with both kinds of HSV are not the butt of jokes.

      Thanks for all the interesting responses!

      1. Shirley*

        One thing not brought up previously is that you may qualify for Family Medical Leave since you have a chronic medical condition which can cause you to be absent. Your doctor may be able to specify that you can work from home while you are unable to be in the office. The certification form can be completed without disclosing your condition

      2. Coffee*

        I have oral cold sores, just “standard” ones, and i deeply sympathise with how severe yours are! If your boss is reluctant to let you work from home, you could mention that complications from it once landed you in hospital, and that could help you get permission.

    6. Hello there !*

      I think that the less we care about the stigma, the less important it will get. I have genital herpes, and I am really at peace with this fact, and I don’t mind talking about it with my partner and friends (but not at work ahaha, in the same way I don’t talk about my waxing appointment in the workplace, not that these things are shameful, but it is nobody’s business).

    7. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      OMG yes I will never understand the stigma. Growing up in Eastern Europe, half the kids I know would get cold sores on their face on the regular. There but for the grace of god go I! Nobody cared. Then I moved to the US and still cannot wrap my head around how it’s being seen here.

      1. Ms J*

        I also grew up in Europe and moved to the US and I’ve never noticed any difference in the way cold sores are treated. The vast majority of people don’t even comment on them and the ones who do, the comments are sympathetic. Maybe some of them are secretly judging you, but that’s also true in Europe. 

        1. Forrest*

          I don’t think it’s that cold sores are seen as bad in Anglophone countries, just that it’s not common to refer to them as herpes. If you see someone with a cold sore say, “oh no, a cold sore” at work, few people will bat an eye. If you say, “oh no, herpes”, you’ll very likely get some spectacular double-takes, even from people who know that a cold sore is technically the herpes virus. We just don’t refer to them that way, so people’s first association is going to be genital herpes.

          (also I really don’t think this is a Europe/US split as much as it’s a linguistic one! UK and to the best of my knowledge Ireland definitely follows the same pattern as US.)

          1. londonedit*

            Yep, that’s been my experience too. Certainly in the UK I think many people wouldn’t even connect ‘cold sore’ with ‘herpes’ – unless you suffer from cold sores, you probably wouldn’t be particularly aware that they’re caused by a herpes virus. If someone says ‘herpes’ then they’re almost certainly referring to genital herpes.

            The cultural difference that really got me was ‘mono’ – I kept hearing it being referred to on US TV shows when I was a teen, as this shameful disease that seemed to imply that you’d been sleeping around. So many storylines where a character’s parents would throw a fit because that character ‘got mono’. I really thought it must be some sort of STI that I’d never heard of. Turns out it’s what we call ‘glandular fever’, which in the UK really has very little stigma or associations with amoral behaviour, it’s just something that you’d hear of as having ruined someone’s A level exams because they’d had to take an extended amount of time off school.

            1. Lilly*

              I don’t know what tv shows you were watching that portrayed mono as a shameful disease that you get from sleeping around, but I’ve never heard that and it certainly isn’t common in the US. Mono is sometimes called “the kissing disease” because that’s the most common form of transmission, but I’ve never seen it portrayed as shameful.

              1. Metadata minion*

                Yeah, I’m really curious now if it’s a regional or generational thing or what. I had the same experience you did growing up — there would periodically be an outbreak in high school and college, and everyone would be really sympathetic because mono/glandular fever is miserable and you’re out for weeks. There might at most be joking about who you caught it from, but it was pretty widely known that you could get it from sharing drinks or whatever.

              2. Forrest*

                no I definitely got that impression from American books too! I don’t think I’d have picked it up from TV but I used to read lots of American teen novels in the 90s (Sweet Dreams, SVH, Marilyn Kaye’s Sister series. Fat: A Love Story) and I definitely picked up that mono was Something Bad That Morally Dubious Girls Got. Maybe it was a 70s-80s thing that has faded away now!

                1. Lilly*

                  Well, teen novels and tv shows from the 90s are really not a good source of information about Americans attitudes towards about certain diseases (or anything else for that matter).

              3. MsClaw*

                I’d say mono is less ‘shameful’ and more ‘snickery’ if you follow me. Like, you will get razzed for having mono and people will tease you about who you’ve been making out with. But it isn’t treated the same way as say, chlamydia.

                It would be treated as a plot device in teen television to imply that a character had been cheating on another character since they must have been kissing someone else to get mono.

                1. Ari*

                  Can confirm. People shamed me for having mono my senior year of high school, including my parents and the pediatrician who diagnosed me. Maybe to them it was good natured ribbing, but it felt an awful lot like shaming to me.

                  I felt awful, was almost hospitalized, and had lingering side effects that lasted several years afterwards. Mono shouldn’t be a punchline for people (not referring to any of the comments here, but the pattern I’ve seen in life and in the media).

            2. Lady Heather*

              Mono is caused by a herpes virus!

              I didn’t know that it was such a stigma. If someone says they have [my-language word for mono] you’re likely to get a ton of sympathy.

              I remember “mono” once being mentioned in a Hollywood production, looking up what it was, and being really confused about it being a joking matter/treated so lightly.

    8. OP3*

      OP #3 here!
      Thanks Alison for responding to my letter – it was great to get some clarity about wording to my boss. He’s a nice guy so I think I can make a good case. He is strict about people being in office and he wasn’t very responsive at first to covid so that’s why I worry.
      And thanks to all that have responded in the threads – really great comments.

      Probably should clarify a few things. I’m originally from Europe and moved to US a couple of years ago so I want to make certain I wasn’t oversharing. My old boss back where I’m from knew about my problems (it’s HSV1 – the ‘cold sore’ type) but we were friends so she knew anyway.

      When I get a ‘flare’, it can be likened to shingles. On a spectrum of getting a bad cold sore, I’m at the very severe end. I’m on daily antivirals, have to avoid stress (hard when you have young kids to drop off at daycare and a usual 45 min commute!), and can’t go out in the sun without a big hat and suncream. I’ve had coldsores cover entire part of my face. I’ve been hospitalized in the past because of the risk to my eye from the lesions blistering up around it. I guess it seems extreme to want to be in bed for a week for this, but if you imagine bad acne compared to a single pimple, that is what I get.

      My boss has seen my cold sores last year, I got a couple, but not one of the extreme ones. I’m happy to have advise about how people treat theirs, but I didn’t want the question to get de-railed because I’ve seen that happen on here before with other medical problems.
      Thanks again Alison

      1. OP3*

        I just realized that I have another answer further up. I didn’t see that so I figure it didn’t register. Oh well!

      2. Marillenbaum*

        The risk of hospitalization seems like a really important factor here. It seems like this is a very simple fix to reduce your overall time out of the office and increase productivity–though we all know that isn’t a guarantee your boss would go for it (though I hope he does). Good luck with getting the accommodation you need!

  3. Teapotcleaner*

    I deal with cold sore herpes simplex 1 about 3 times a year depending on severe stress or run down body. My coworkers have seen me with a blister on my chin or side of lip. I do get questions as if it were an injury. I tell them I’m healing. However, I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about it to my bosses. There is no need it’s something to deal with on your own as best as you can. Op I am glad you have tried all the home remedies and you know your body well to know when it is gonna come on.

    1. That'll happen*

      I’ve gotten cold sores since I was a kid, and when I was younger I was very self-conscious about it. I now have a pretty good routine down to shorten the length of the outbreaks, and once I was able to stop worrying about it so much, I noticed other people didn’t either. If I didn’t make a big deal out of it, no one else would. And I have to say that I’m hoping mask-wearing when people feel a bit under the weather will be acceptable even when Covid is under control because that will help too!

      1. Retail Not Retail*

        I had an outbreak in November and wearing a mask was the best – probably the shortest sore ever since I could never touch it!

        At the grocery store, I remember a particularly gnarly flare up the week I was assigned to the deli. Our gloves were powdered… I washed my hands! Every time! But wow it had to look bad. I didn’t work there again for six months.

      2. Oh well !*

        I am interested in knowing what is the routine if you would want to share it ? I have regular outbreaks! My valaciclovir works greatly, but if you have other advice, it would be helpful!

        1. Myrin*

          Do the round, see-through little plasters exist where you live? I’ve never had a cold sore in my life but both my mum and sister sadly suffer from them pretty badly and they both favour these plasters strongly. They are self-adhesive and in addition to stopping you from touching the area, they also have some kind of… ointment (?) in them which helps dry out the sores and also makes them almost invisible.

          1. Washi*

            I don’t get cold sores, but I think you are describing hydrocolloids! I use them sometimes for acne. You can get them pre-cut in nice little circular patches, or you can also sometimes find them in bandaid sizes that you can then cut up yourself (which is often cheaper, but not near-invisible like the patches)

            1. Myrin*

              Hah, I just took a quick googly look at the plasters I’m thinking of and the very first result told me they indeed contain “ultra-thin hydrocolloid gel”! :D

        2. LMB*

          I have suffered outbreaks since I was 16 and I take a daily low dose of Acyclovir (200mg) as suppression therapy. Works brilliantly for me.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            Similarly – I do a daily low dose of valacyclovir as suppression. It works great and the pills are a gorgeous shade of blue. Heh.

        3. Morticia*

          But you still get outbreaks with the valacyclovir? I haven’t had one since I’ve been on it.

        4. Cat Tree*

          I use Abreva when I feel a cold sore coming on, and for me that shuts it down quick. It will then cause a small sore but never flare into a full blown sore like they did before Abreva was invented. Other than I just keep it moist with standard lip balm to avoid cracking.

          However, I think mine isn’t as severe as yours because I’ve never needed something like valaciclovir. So what works for me might not work for you. Still might be worth a try.

          1. Alice Ulf*

            Seconding the recommendation for Abreva–it’s kind of expensive, but nothing stops a sore in its tracks quite so well in my experience! It’s a tiny tube, but just one tube has lasted me for well over a year. I do take daily valacyclovir for suppression, too.

        5. Riverlady*

          I mix up some Vaseline with tea tree oil in a shot glass and stick a bunch of q-tips in as single-use applicators. The Vaseline keeps the sore from drying out and cracking and the oil works as a mild antiseptic and painkiller (and smells nice).

        6. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

          I get cold sores when I’m stressed or under the weather. A basic zinc supplement makes a big difference to the frequency and intensity. It also helps with mouth ulcers.

    2. Cedrus Libani*

      OP said she’s tried everything, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend Valtrex. If taken at the first symptoms, one pill can stop a cold sore in its tracks.

    3. HerpesOP#3*

      Sorry you get this too Teapotcleaner.
      Yes, my cold sores (it’s HSV1 I have, not that it really matters) can be on all parts of my face, including around my eyes, which is really worrying.
      I’m on daily antivirals because of this and try to keep my stress levels down because stress and sun are my two main triggers.
      Ironically, covid working from home has definitely been great for my stress levels. I think my commute involving drive/train/walk every day and having to drop off kids as well at daycare was a major stressor and working from home eliminated that.

  4. Tilly*

    #2 – I had the reverse happen. I noticed an attractive younger guy in elevator in professional setting with fly down, and decided I should tell him. As I was walking out, I grabbed his arm, leaned in, and whispered “your fly.”
    He looked confused for a sec, then had this very weird smile and laugh.
    I realized later that he thought I said “you’re fly” – as in, I was hitting on him.
    I often wonder if he later went to the restroom and was like – “oh.”

      1. JustaTech*

        I said that once to a coworker (I was sitting and he was standing and his shirt was sticking out his fly, it was *very* noticeable). This was the wrong thing to do, because that coworker didn’t understand English idioms *at all*, so then I had to explain “Examine Your Zipper” and then finally say “your pants are not zipped”.
        He was quite embarrassed (which I was trying to avoid).

        Then again, he also often wore two pairs of pants (running pants or wind pants under his jeans), so it’s not like anyone would see anything.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      I still use “XYZ!” Most guys understand it, it’s light hearted, and it seems to lessen the awkwardness.

    2. Mr. Shark*

      Haha, Tilly. He was probably feeling pretty good and confident all day until he went to the restroom and realized what you really meant!

    3. theguvnah*

      you grabbed a stranger’s arm and whispered to him? That would be highly inappropriate in my circles.

  5. Observer*

    #3- Use Allison’s language and don’t mention your diagnosis. The issue is not stigma, although I realize that that could also be an issue. But I would say this even if that were not even a possibility.

    The thing is that on the one hand, this is really not information your boss needs, it’s generally a good idea to share less rather than more information. On the other hand, you do not want to give your boss space for a “discussion” or questions about your diagnosis or if being able to work from home “really” helps, etc. Give him just the facts he needs with no room for argumentation.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Yeah, I think just referring to it as a condition you’ve had for a long time that occasionally flares up is best. There are so many of them out there that benefit from just exactly what you are asking for (the ability to work from home in a more low key setting that I really don’t think you need to name it specifically.

      1. Self Employed*

        You don’t need the boss worrying about transmission via cross-contamination at work, even though I’m sure you are careful not to touch the sores and then touch other stuff.

  6. Teapotsallthewaydown*

    For LW1 – seriously they’re surviving on working 1hr a day!? That’s incredible – and I’m very jealous. However, I wonder if you’ve shown them the numbers? As in actually shown them how much time they are spending on work? It just sort of sounds like they’ve fallen out of love with their business and therefore any time they do spend on it feels horribly busy.

    For LW3 – Lots of people have chronic conditions that flare up. It’s not terribly unusual, so telling your boss that you have a chronic condition that flares up intermittently shouldn’t be a big deal. Speaking as someone who has a chronic condition that is very visible when it flares up – my experience is that people are mostly understanding and if they’re a half decent person won’t pry.

    1. Batgirl*

      LW1’s bosses absolutely know how little work they do. They wouldn’t spend so much time talking up the amount of work they do, otherwise.

      1. Lewan*

        Eh, I’ve worked for someone similar and they were totally oblivious. If they had to drop of eight cases of eggs at a bakery, they’d take one, drive back, get another and drive it over, then come back and so on… even if the bakery is nearly an hour away.

        Then say they’d been non stop all day. Some people just don’t see it.

        1. Cat Tree*

          I had a coworker who did this with the printer in an office setting. We had a little makeshift office area for 4 people in the middle of a manufacturing area, and the printer was just outside the door, which was right by my desk. All day long she would open that door and the sound of running equipment would flood the space. She would go out and grab one or two printed pages, take them back to her desk, then do the same thing a few minutes later. I don’t even know what she was printing because our job didn’t require that much paper. Not even exaggerating, she made this trip 5 to 10 times an hour some days. I still haven’t decided if she was really inefficient, or just bored and wasting time.

          1. OkapiFeels*

            I have coworkers who print their e-mails. Not just important e-mails, mind; every e-mail. To read them.

    2. MK*

      From the OP’s phrasing, I am assuming that it’s not that they are coming to the office one hour a day, but they are taking multiple long leaves during the year and a lot of three day weekends as well. That spells significant wealth to me; I wonder if the business is profitable as is or if they are subsidizing it from their private fortune so that they will not appear idle.

      I wouldn’t say anything about the time they spent at work; it would be pretty weird for an employee to say “I calculated how much you work and it’s an hour a day”, like tracking their hours. The OP might consider saying something about the actual output, like mentioning how many sales they made last year and what it would take to make more, in terms s of work not hours.

      Though I really don’t see this as an issue, or frankly the OP’s business. If these people were putting in a ton of work but weren’t productive for some reason, yes, it would the OP’s job to make recommendations, as someone brought in to increase productivity. But “work more” isn’t really a productivity issue.

      1. By the way, my name is Max*

        These people have established a “lifestyle business.” Often the term is used derisively, but it should not be in this context. This business is never going to scale like a venture-backed startup — but the founders are likely getting enough cash flow to finance their jet-setting lifestyle, and it works for them. They’ve hired OP to tend to the business when they’re not there.

        OP has nothing to gain by pointing all this out to the founders. They’re well aware of it. OP’s decision is whether this is the kind of business she want to work for, or not.

        1. FloralWrath*

          I’ve worked at a “lifestyle business” that was also a real estate agency. Here I am, attempting to market multi-million pound real estate around the world on social media (it doesn’t work, but I was told to do it), and my boss swoops into the Middle East and just sells like 10 properties over the weekend. He tried to scale up, but didn’t know how to manage people and would get angry that the rest of us because we weren’t as sleazy as he was. Five of us quit over a period of a month.

        2. Writer of #1*

          Thanks for your comment. I also got the impression that I was just to tend to their business! Recently though, they’ve made it clear that my only objective is to help them do more business because they aren’t making enough money. But of course, they’ve specifically told me they don’t want me to get my real estate license (because then they’d have to pay me commission). Essentially, my hands are tied if the Broker (my boss) keeps delaying transactions and losing us clients. After reading everyone’s comments, I think I need to get out of this position where I’m set up to fail as quickly and painlessly as possible!

          1. The Rural Juror*

            I hope you’re able to jump ship soon. Plenty of people have businesses that run like a well-oiled machine so they’re able to spend time away, but you have to invest time and money into that business so it will run without you. Doesn’t sound like that’s what the couple are capable of doing, especially if they won’t invest in you as an employee! Get out of that circus and leave the monkeys for someone else!

          2. FunTimes*

            Oh wow, yeah, I think you have the right instinct. This business is headed for failure: it’s not making enough money because the owners don’t do the work, and mess up what little business they do manage to get. How long can they coast like this before there’s not enough money for your salary?

          3. anony-mouse for this*

            Writing #1 it sounds like you work for a bad broker and I would look at going elsewhere. Maybe you can think of other contacts in your area that would appreciate a hard worker like you seem to be.
            And you can get your license without your bosses approval. Depending on your state you would just wouldn’t be licensed without the broker. But you can still get the education.

          4. Gumby*

            I definitely think fleeing is a good option.

            But if you *want* to try to help them increase business, you could nudge them towards making their own realizations (much better than you telling them because if they realize stuff their selves, they will believe it). Sort of a combo “these are things that I think will help with growth” along side “I know you are really busy, but maybe there are some tasks that you do which can be dropped because they don’t add value commensurate with the time they take, how about you track your time in half hour increments for the next month and let’s see if we can identify deadweight tasks.” The act of tracking it will either make them actually do stuff or alert them that in a single day they had 3 hours of lunches and breaks compared to 1 hour of active work and 1 hour of “work” researching random unnecessary stuff on the internet. It’s hard to give that type of assignment to bosses but maybe there is a way to word it that seems less like an assignment and more like enthusiastic troubleshooting help. Or maybe I am being too optimistic.

          5. Mr. Shark*

            It sounds like if you just try to keep them on schedule (reminders, meetings set up, calendar updates) that would be one of the main things to keep transactions on schedule and keep clients happy.
            But otherwise I would just communicate to them. “You complete X number of transactions every Y number of weeks” and hopefully it would be obvious that they have to do more than that.

      2. Joan Rivers*

        She’s second in command and her job is to improve systems and advise. They pay her for that. So it IS her “business.”
        But she could tactfully suggest duties they won’t want to do to carve out a new job description for herself. Since she’s looking for a new job anyway.
        Maybe add some “fun” duties they could do occasionally, too. If they’re social types they could schmooze new clients while she does work they’d see as more “tedious.”
        Point out that when you’re done “organizing new systems” you’ll have free time or your job will be done? What IS the future supposed to be for it?
        It’s like when Dick Cheney was in charge of finding VP candidates and ended up w/the job himself.

    3. Mike on the Mic*

      I once worked for a rich guy playing “business man.” Although he worked more than one hour per week, it was never a full 40 hours. Not an experience I recommend.

      1. DocVonMittens*

        I’m this person. I don’t often share this because I know I’m incredibly lucky and it’s not often what people want to hear, but I have a trust fund and inheritance that means I really never had to work. I’m incredibly ambitious so I’ve been working in the startup world and am now a director at a startup.

        I find myself struggling with laziness. It’s weird because I’ll go through periods of intense engagement and work a 12 hour day then I’ll hit a patch of disengagement and struggle to put in an hour or two a day. I think it stems from wanting and liking my job but not NEEDING it. So when I really have to grind the resiliency just isn’t there. I feel so much shame over it and I know if I ran my own business I’d be exactly that couple.

        1. CRM*

          Don’t be so hard on yourself – what you are describing is also a symptom of burnout! I don’t have an inheritance/trust fund/general wealth to fall back on, but the same thing happens to me. I’ll spend many 12-hour days in a row on a big project, then after that project wraps up and the adrenaline subsides, I’m unable to be productive for a week or two. That’s usually a sign that it’s time to take a day off.

          1. Ophelia*

            Also, FWIW, depending on the industry and what kind of work you do, this might make a certain kind of sense? My work goes through intense periods with hard deadlines that require intense focus for 4-6 weeks at a time, and the only way for me to make that work long-term is to really dial back my “productivity” in between those periods. Otherwise, I absolutely would burn out.

        2. Metadata minion*

          This is skirting the “no armchair diagnosing” rule, but it sounds like you maybe want advice, so please disregard if that’s not the case! The pattern of either working full out or not being able to knuckle down and get stuff done at all potentially sounds like ADHD. Often either you’re interested in something and so get ALL THE FOCUS or you’re not interested in something and so your brain goes “nope, going to go take a nap now, this is clearly not important”. Getting a diagnosis and medication and various organizational strategies was absolutely lifechanging for me. It doesn’t always present as the classic fidgety troublemaker boy, and people with the “inattentive” subtype are often overlooked as kids. Maybe this isn’t at all what’s going on for you, but it might be worth looking into?

          1. DocVonMittens*

            I appreciate the response. I do have anxiety disorder so it may be related to that. I’ll definitely bring it up with my therapist next week.

          2. booksbooksmorebooks*

            Co-signed!! And would love to hear about coping strategies in an open thread. I’m working with my therapist and looks like I’m heading toward an ADD diagnosis – the hyperactive, restless, fidgety part isn’t present for me, anxiety definitely is. Good luck DocVonMittens.

            (Am also in tech, also tend toward the same kind of patterns. Thought it was just a lot of burnout/occasional imposter syndrome spirals as a self-taught woman, all coupled with being smart enough to skate by on ‘bad’ weeks.)

    4. lapgiraffe*

      I was in this exact position, and knowing I can’t sit the boss down and say “we would be better as a business if you actually worked,” I came up with what I thought was a brilliant analysis of our sales, solutions to our inventory issues, and was very specific about our needs. It was eye opening for many reasons, including I don’t think the boss actually understood even moderately complex ideas, but mostly I realized that even though he brought me on specifically to help grow the business and “take this place to the next level,” that in reality he was more than pleased with where it was. It afforded him and his family the lifestyle he wanted, and that was that.

      I eventually spoke about it to a close colleague, who had been there for nearly a decade, and he confirmed that any talk over scaling up was like momentary bursts of energy and optimism that were quickly forgotten. It was honestly a let down not only for my job in that moment but for my career in general, as I had always looked up to this man and company as bucking the bad trends of my industry. While that was true, it turned out it was merely an accident brought on by a boss who didn’t want to work any harder than necessary. I wouldn’t begrudge him this life choice if he paid his people better and also didn’t instill so much false hope in people, though I think he has convinced himself he’s a hard worker just like OP’s bosses, it’s quite delusional but also that kind of self preserving denial.

      1. Le Sigh*

        I dunno, figuring out a way to not work any harder than necessary but still be reasonably successful/comfortable sounds like the dream.

        1. lapgiraffe*

          Oh believe me, he is living the dream, his employees…not so much. I guess for me the dream would include not taking advantage of the people who make my cushy life possible, but I guess that’s why I am still toiling away out here making money for someone else.

          1. Mel_05*

            I had one of those bosses. I worked for him back when he actually worked, but by the time he left he was barely ever in his office and was truly baffled as to why things were going wrong with the company.

    5. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Yeah, if they have to work this little and still can afford awesome vacations, why in the WORLD would they want to work more? I don’t know if the business is supporting them or if they are living off other money, but either way they don’t seem to be hurting.

    6. Public Sector Manager*

      Teapot, the problem is that you’re trying to apply rational thought to irrational people. As a newer attorney, I worked for an attorney like this. Constantly wanted more business but was always taking off work and not doing his fair share. He knew what the numbers were and how little he worked. It’s as though he wanted all of us to work harder so he didn’t have to. In the end, he couldn’t keep any attorneys more than 6 months and the firm shut down permanently about 3 years after I left because even in the end, he still wasn’t willing to put in the necessary hours. I imagine for OP 1, the owners want more money in their pockets, want to keep not working, and don’t want to hire more staff or invest further in their own company to make it happen. The owners forgot the first rule of being self-employed–no one cares more about your business than you do. And if you don’t care, you can’t expect your employees to care.

    7. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      My partner owns a company jointly with a couple of friends. They are all nearing or past retirement age and only one of them actually does much work. My partner rolls in at about 10.30, has a chat and a coffee with whoever is willing to chat, is off to lunch at 12, back well after 2pm. He’ll often scoot off at 4.30 for a leisurely walk in the park with an associate, and any client who turns up after 6pm is offered a pre-dinner drink and invited to the gym (closed at the moment). He doesn’t get back until after 8pm. Admittedly the coffee, lunch, walks and drinks will all be interspersed with business talk, but there’ll be plenty of banter too. In my estimate he only does real work for a couple of hours a day. He also takes off for holidays any time he feels like it (typically at least a week or so skiing in February, a couple of weeks in March to visit his family, all of August, and at least a week at Christmas) Yet if I say his work is very leisurely, he’ll be upset and make out he works far more than that.

  7. kellyu*

    I had literally no idea that the LDS had an issue with the term Mormon, so I’d restore the award winning piece to your portfolio with the statement Alison suggested attached as a prefix or suffix. The piece is an excellent example of your writing skills, and the statement shows that you are aware that choice of language is important.

    1. Jenny*

      I have some family who are LDS and I honestly had never heard of this either (I mean we pretty much never discuss religion so it wouldn’t naturally come up, but I’ve navigated the whole wedding/temple issue for my cousin’s wedding). Not sure how common this knowledge is, but the note seems like an excellent idea.

      1. iambriandammit*

        I had never heard of it either and googled. It appears (although my research is, I admit, perfunctory) that “Mormons” is fine but “The Mormon Church” is not. They want the church to be called by it’s full name “The Church of |Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

    2. River Song*

      It’s not so much that we have a problem with it, but that by removing Christ’s name from the title, and just going by the nickname, it almost kind of divorces the thoughts of “the church” and “Jesus Christ”. And (not to start a religious discussion, just to explain) when we are suppose to center our lives around a Christ, we dont want Him to be removed from the name.

      But most normal people, LDS or not wont be offended! We referred to ourselves as mormons for a long time, and plenty of us still do. Old habits and all that:)

    3. D3*

      95% of members don’t. This is, after all, the same exact church that for years ran a PR campaign called “I’m a Mormon” and made a movie “Meet the Mormons”
      ONE leader got a bug in his bonnet and changed the style guide.
      OP, there’s zero reason to remove this from your portfolio. I doubt you even need the disclaimer. There are a few nitpickers who might try to correct you, but what you wrote was – and continues to be – just fine.

    4. Musereader*

      As an lapsed morman with still practicing LDS family members (as in immediate family, not just distant) it is about branding and messaging, some of it is about convincing people that it is still a Christian religion that also believes in the bible same as other Christians.

      There is a huge misconception that LDS rejects the bible in favour of the book of Morman, when in reality having grown up in the church equal weight was put on both – some people I have spoken to really did not realise that it was a Christian religion and thought it was all about the BoM and the nickname Mormans really does not help that.

      In the past lots of people would have known this that like Episcopalian and methodists etc are immediately known as Christian offshoots but the repeated brandings as Morman because of the BoM just serves to divorce it from it’s Christian roots, bringing the name Christ back into it serves to reinforce it.

      Imo it does not work well because people just use the other shorthand LDS which does not have Christ in it either

    5. Brett*

      Ready for the next shocker?
      The Church asked people to stop using LDS at the same time.
      it is specifically to recognize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and members of the Church.
      It does not apply to cultural recognition of Mormonism (which might not even be CoJCLDS) and specifically does not apply to any existing places names, e.g. Mormon Trail and Book of Mormon will continue to carry those names.

      1. Mr. Shark*

        That’s what confused me about the style-guide information. It indicated to not use LDS, but then it calls itself the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It seems like LDS or Latter-Day Saints would make sense as an abbreviation, even if it wanted to sort of divorce itself from the Mormon designation.

        1. Yorick*

          Someone above said they want Jesus Christ to be central to their name, so CoJCLDS would be better than LDS.

  8. WS*

    LW 3 – you can refer to herpes as a chronic condition or a viral condition, both of which are true and unlikely to attract further questioning.

  9. LW4 19 Jan 2021*

    Hello, everyone! I’m LW4 today.

    I really appreciated the advice, and I’ll return the article to my portfolio with a lead-in note close to the suggested wording.

    General von Klinkerhoffen also nailed my biggest issue in a comment:

    In trying to be discreet, LW risks sounding as though she casually used a slur (goodness knows there’s plenty of hate speech that used to be common parlance).

    With others’ perspectives, I see now that I was doing too much dancing around when a simple and straightforward approach solves all the potential issues at once. No big deal, no apology needed; just acknowledge and move on.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Agreed here. Also if it makes you feel better, I live in an area where the majority faith is LDS (I am not though), and occasionally even the local news station will slip up and use Mormon in a story. Just be straightforward and move on. In this case I think intent matters far more than the term (in this specific case but not in all – I would never say this for a term that is actively hostile or derogatory).

      1. writerly*

        They may not even be “slipping up.” News organizations aren’t required to use the leaders’ preferred language, and in many cases they actively choose not to. Several still allow — even encourage — the use of the word “Mormon” as interchangeable because no matter what the LDS officials would prefer, most readers and listeners don’t change preferred terminology on a dime. The news organizations’ fealty is to their listeners, not to the church.

        1. allathian*

          This. It’s also a handy shorthand, because the full name of the church is so long. In writing, it’s easier to follow the church’s recommendation of using the full name the first time it is mentioned in a story, and subsequently using just “the church”. In broadcast formats, especially radio, this isn’t so easy, because the writers and newsreaders have to assume that people might start listening in the middle of a report.

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Having watched some of these morning tv news folks apologize, it’s an unintended slip most of the time. When the change request came out of general conference it was the number one news story in the mornings for a week.

          But like I said above – it’s about intent more in this case. And almost half of my LDS neighbors still say they are Mormon when asked (my specific neighborhood is 85% LDS).

    2. Sara without an H*

      I see now that I was doing too much dancing around when a simple and straightforward approach solves all the potential issues at once. No big deal, no apology needed; just acknowledge and move on.

      I like your summary. Based on my past reading of AAM, it’s also the solution to a whole bunch of life’s problems.

    3. Threeve*

      I totally get how easy it is to slip into Maximum Caution when you feel like your writing is going to be scrutinized–you get the same basic “don’t use that anymore, use this” for terms that just aren’t preferred any longer as you do for terms that are deeply unacceptable and offensive–so if you’re not personally familiar with the topic it’s not always obvious how seriously you need to take it.

    4. Rayray*

      I am a member of the church, and just want to let it be known that “Mormon” doesn’t offend most of us and is certainly not a slur. We got the nickname from an ancient prophet and one of our scriptural texts, The Book of Mormon. I do believe it was somewhat of a slur as East church members were persecuted in early days but I don’t believe it is meant as a slur anymore, just what we became known as. The church even had its own campaign “I’m a Mormon” a few years back.

      Our current church president wanted to step away from the term mostly just to clear up confusion people may have, so that it doesn’t seem we worship Mormon or focus solely on him in any way.

      I do appreciate you doing your best to be professional. Follow Allison’s advice, but you’re definitely not offending church members at all for having used a widely accepted term eight years ago. I understand you’re making sure you follow AP guidelines and that’s what matters here.

  10. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

    #4 active lifetime LDS member here: keep the article! We put paid ads in The Book of Mormon musical playbill, so you’re good. It was a directive to help us in our own religious studies and in proselyting to better emphasize our relationship with Christ as opposed to our cultural link with the text (The Book of Mormon) we use with the Bible.

    1. Fabulous*

      I’m not very familiar with LDS other than having toured the Mormon Tabernacle, but I absolutely love the musical! I find it hilarious – and ironically fitting – that LDS advertised in their program.

      1. Humble Schoolmarm*

        I once had to endure a terrible training where we had to stare into a random partner’s eyes and ask ‘What do you believe?’ until we had unveiled our true selves or some such nonsense. I was so very tempted to start quoting the lyrics to “I believe”.
        Luckily my partner thought the whole thing was absurd too and we stared deeply into each others eyes and passionately discussed how there was no way we were actually going to do this!

    2. PersephoneUnderground*

      I remember this- I think it went something like “Liked the play? Now read the book!” Great sense of humor :)

  11. Seeking Second Childhood”*

    LW2, Alison is spot-on. And I’m taking the opportunity for a related public service ALL wearers of zippers, from someone whose desk is near an office bathroom— Check it BEFORE you go out the door please. It really is unpleasant how many times a day I’d walk to the copier and see someone reaching down for a quick check.

    1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

      I also agree 1000% with Alison. As the other party in this situation, I would be soooooo much more comfortable with you never mentioning your zipper to me.

  12. mreasy*

    OP5 I work in the music industry and am a person who hires for marketing & related roles. Your involvement & leadership with the fan accounts would absolutely be a huge resume asset, especially since you’re using your second language as well as photo and video editing skills. Good luck out there!

      1. WorkingGirl*

        I also work in the music industry and got my fulltime job largely because of activities like what you’re doing :)

    1. Lilian*

      Same, similar kind of activities put on a resume absolutely helped me get both music and online marketing interviews and jobs, definitely include it!

    2. Annimal*

      Chiming in on this as well – most people in the music industry got their first jobs specifically because of volunteer efforts like yours. It’s a huge plus and the fact that you’re in direct contact with an artist’s management team is a great sign of your professionalism.

      However…. the industry is also notorious for underpaying and overworking staff (especially entryish level) because it’s “such a privilege” to have that job and “there are tons of people who would kill to be in your position” etc etc etc. We’ll never improve the situation unless we talk about it openly, so I’m trying to do my part! You might get to do something you really do love but it’s still a job and you should value your skills, experience, and health accordingly!

    3. Katrinka*

      And there are many many companies who are looking for marketing people who are familiar with running social media pages. They would salivate over your experience. Not only running, but being very successful and having multiple sites to point to in your portfolio.

  13. Forrest*

    My bosses say they want to do more business, but they rarely work and leave for weeks at a time

    How seriously do they say this? If they just say it casually or as a kind of general statement about they would like the world to be, I wouldn’t bother treating it as a serious aspiration. If they ever say it seriously in a business or planning meeting where it seems like they’re genuinely looking for ideas, I would either say, “I have some ideas, but I think it depends on what sort of changes you’re willing to make?” (as a genuine question, but even so, this is still fairly confrontational!) or “Well, what we need is someone to *outline the relevant actions–developing more leads, following up the leads you do have, seeking more substantial contracts with existing clients etc*” and just leave it there to see whether or not they perceive those as things they could do.

    1. Myrin*

      Yeah, I can totally see the bosses just saying this in a kind of hand-wavey, throwaway manner because they think that’s What One Says When One Owns A Business, not because they seriously, actually want to broaden their work horizons.

    2. Writer of #1*

      They were serious enough to hire me, and they’ve made it clear that my only job from here on out is to “figure out how we can make more money” (they’re living paycheck to paycheck). But it’s genuinely difficult to believe how little time they put into their business. I write out our business plan for the day, every day. And when they feel like working, they follow it. I’m also only 22 years old and they now have me handling all of their marketing and long-term strategic planning….when I was originally hired to answer emails. I was wondering if there was any merit in being honest- but from everyone’s comments I think I need to just get out of this situation as painlessly as possible!

      1. meyer lemon*

        I think you’re right, sadly. It sounds like if they were really motivated to make any changes, they would have done it already. Instead, they’re trying to make you responsible for growing their business so they don’t have to feel bad about how little time they spend on it. You can’t care more about their business than they do!

      2. kt*

        You’re only 22? More red flags. They hired you to answer emails and now they’ve put the business in your hands…. hmm… This is not to denigrate your skills, or anything — it’s just very interesting that they did not hire someone with a track record of turning around companies to turn around their company.

        You want to work with people you’d be proud to emulate, right? Then your last sentence is right on the money. (I bet they’re not paying you much either.)

      3. Katrinka*

        If they don’t want to work more, they have to hire more brokers/agents. Preferably ones with existing clients. Their problem is that they don’t have the money to hire outright and it doesn’t sound like they have the necessary infrastructure in place to support a new agent – no established marketing presence, office space, admin support, etc. You could research some of that and present that to them as an Option #2, when Option #1 is for them to work more or set selling/listing goals for them to aim for.

      4. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Since they don’t want you to get your licence, you can point out that however hard you work, you do need more input from those that do have one?
        But I do actually agree that you’re better off working elsewhere. You’re young and learning, but if they leave you to manage everything on your own, you’re maybe not learning the right things. You might be better off in a large company where you’re given less responsibility but can learn about due processes.

    3. LilyP*

      Yeah I think you should be honest in response to direct questions but “work more” is probably going to come across as rude. Stick to what business things would need to change (respond to clients within N hours instead of M, generate more leads, arrange better coverage/continuity if they’re out of the office for long periods, etc).

  14. agnes*

    LW #1 when you work for a small business and work closely with the owners, you will see a lot of things that you might do differently. Some small business owners are open to ideas about how to improve their business; others aren’t. This is a good place to practice those “letting go of what you can’t control” skills. Good luck.

    1. Abogado Avocado*

      LW #1, if you have data supporting the conclusion that the firm would have more business if the owners worked more, you want to express this in ways that is motivational — in other words, that incentivize their working or incentivizing others to take on the tasks they’re not doing. E.g., you might say, “Based on available data (which you would then show them), net revenues would increase by x if we had y more business. To get y more business, the firm requires your expertise z more time/week to engage in these duties (which you then name).” Then tell them the alternative: “Or we could incentivize staff to carry out these duties instead via this flat fee per duty or an overall bonus of b.” Be prepared to show why staff can’t carry out the duties the owners aren’t doing. Perhaps it’s because the duties are high-level work only owners would do or because the organizations that would throw the firm business don’t want to sit down with lower-level staff who have no authority to make final decisions.

  15. Anony-mouse for now*

    LW1. How do you know that they only work 1 hour a day. Is that the time they are in the office?
    Real estate is an extremely hard industry. I’ve known people who were great but only sold one house with in a year because they didn’t have the tools they needed.
    Unless you go to a specify school you don’t learn HOW to actually sell a house. The state only mandates that real estate agents know the legal stuff and how to for paperwork and loans. Brokerages don’t always sleigher, but it sounds like they are their own brokers. They don’t teach you this stuff when you take real estate classes. And surprisingly some states, if you have a law degree you just have to pass a test.
    Believe me I know, I worked for an online Real estate school that covered most states. One of our products was how to be a better re sales person.

    1. New Job So Much Better*

      I was wondering that too. Real estate is a business that takes a LOT of social interactions. They really may be working!

      1. Generic Name*

        I was wondering this too. Is the OP thinking that working only equates to time in the office? I know people who think that attending meetings isn’t “work”, so I wonder if the type of business development that goes on in the real estate, like golfing with potential clients or having lunch with a colleague to network, reads as “not working” to the OP.

        1. Writer of #1*

          Trust me, I would be doing cartwheels if they were having lunches with colleagues or having meetings with potential clients over a golf game. They only spend time on their personal life. They both stay home if their 17 year old kid has a cold…and take 3 cars to one doctors appointment for 1 person…who is 17….? Truly unbelievable I know.

          1. Katrinka*

            Maybe the 17yo could get a “real” job and support their parents who seem to be using a leisurely business model.

        2. anony-mouse for this*

          Also, depending on the state, there is so much time you have to do each year. I know the one main state I worked in every year there was 15 hours worth of classes that both brokers and real estate agents had to do in order to keep their license active. I know other states had more, some had less. So they could be doing their class hours outside of the office.

          1. Writer of #1*

            That’s a great thought, but they don’t even do their own classes like they’re supposed to. It’s interesting seeing how many people are suggesting what they might be doing that I’m missing- and I know I’d be doing exactly the same thing if I was on the other side. But they truly do unbelievably little.

            1. Generic Name*

              You mean they don’t take their continuing education credits to maintain their license? Are you taking those classes?? That is super shady and might even be illegal.

            2. Self Employed*

              The more I hear about these brokers, the more it sounds like you need a better employer. They’re expecting someone who isn’t a licensed broker to somehow make them more money, and they’re not keeping up on their own licensing requirements.

              If they lose their broker licenses, would that reflect badly on their assistant? At the very least, it could shut down the business abruptly so you need to look for a job while unemployed. You might not even get your last paycheck if they lose their income stream.

      2. anony-mouse for this*

        It is extremely social. You have to be out there and talking with people. From my experience there are 2 main misconceptions of real estate:
        1. That it is easy and will make you a lot of money from day 1
        2. That you can just sit in your office and the sales will come to you.

        It’s not easy and you have to work hard to make major money. You have to be out there and market yourself. It’s also expensive. For example, a high quality education can cost you about $1000 right off the bat. Then you have the state licensure test (not sure what that costs but I’m thinking around $500). That’s just to take the test. Once you pass you have to get pay to get your license and your insurance. You also need to find a broker to work for, before you can get your license. Pay any fees they require (many have a desk fee). And that’s not going into any business costs.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      It read to me that it’s not literally one hour a day, but rather that they take so many days off, and long vacations etc, that when you divide up their known working time by the number of “normal” working days in a year, the average spits out to one-hour per day. And that was mentioned mainly to illustrate the point.

      1. anony-mouse for this*

        I can see that interpretation. And a lot of people don’t do real estate as their main business. I would be interested to know if the bosses have other businesses.

    3. LGC*

      That was actually my first thought! It can sometimes be hard to tell when your manager is busy (ask me how I know).

      That said, based off of LW1’s replies here…it sounds like the 1 hour workdays are just a symptom.

  16. C*

    This is really interesting. I am a regular blood donor (0 negative) and I found out that I am one of the people who has never been infected with HSV. It is only a matter of note/value in that my blood is hence safe to use for in-utero and neonatal transfusions, since prenates and neonates have no defences at all even to common viruses.

    1. Emily*

      Interesting- I’m a designated neonatal blood donor (UK) but definitely have HSV (I get a cold every couple of years).

  17. LW5*

    Thank you so much for answering, Alison — and thank you for saying yes! I was so worried the answer would be no, hahaha.

    And I’d completely forgotten about the boy band letter linked! I referenced the World of Warcraft one from a few years back in my original email; it’s so interesting to me to recognize the differences between these types of experiences.

    1. Nanani*

      One thing that didn’t come up in the advice – some labels really REALLY frown on fannish activity in people trying to get jobs with them. The logic seems to be that fans are just trying to get close to the artists and won’t work seriously or something along those lines?
      This is second hand information from a friend who had similar carreer goals so I can’t be very specific, but I would advise you to at least ask around and try to see if anyone in a similar position to you has had success before applying to a given company.
      While the advice Alison gives makes perfect sense, there are music labels that don’t.

      Good luck!

      1. LW5*

        That’s what I’ve been worried about! I’m hoping my professionalism with the accounts balances it out, but I totally understand that it might not. It’s something to keep in mind either way — thank you for mentioning it :)

  18. BabyWhale*

    OP #3 – try L-Lysine, I’m not kidding it sounds silly but it’s an amino acid that I take whenever I have a flare up and I haven’t had an outbreak in YEARS. It counteracts L-Arginine (which we get through our diet), which too much of in the body can trigger an outbreak. Google it! It’s been a life saver for me.

    1. BabyWhale*

      Ok crap. I didn’t read through the letter enough that OP didn’t want advice, I just got excited to share something that’s worked so well for me. Sorry OP!

  19. Not So NewReader*

    LW 1. I think I have worked for these people. (joking)

    I concluded that I cannot work for dabblers, either get all in or get all out. I can’t show up every day and do a half-a$$ed job. Of the two extremes, working very hard or not having a lot to do, the latter does me in. I go home more tired from trying to make up things to do, that I ever did from working very hard.

    Meanwhile, to carry yourself through tell yourself that you get a paycheck no matter what. If this couple works hard, you get a paycheck. If they chose not to work, you STILL get a paycheck. Find solace in the fact that you still have an income while you look for work elsewhere. This is easy to take for granted, so don’t let it skate by you. And then of course, promise yourself that the next place will be better, so that you have something to look forward to.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Yes, I think LW1 probably has a very different work ethic from her employers and all the “dabbling” is getting on their nerves. But it’s not really a problem that needs a solution. The owners are happy with a hobby business that lets them take a lot of time off. The LW just needs to extract some useful experience from the job and go on looking for something else.

    2. Writer of #1*

      Thanks for your comment and advice! I’m glad someone relates. I feel so burnt out from seeing so many problems I have no power to fix and from constantly waiting on others. But you’re right, at least I have an income while I look for something better. Thank you for the perspective.

  20. Myrin*

    OP #2, I commend you very much for being conscious of these things but I really think that in this case there wasn’t a problem at all. Things like this happen, they often go completely unnoticed, and if they are noticed people don’t tend to think it’s been done nefariously because it’s so common. Don’t fret!

  21. Not So NewReader*

    LW 2. I think we have all been there at some point. And sometimes the problem is not that we forgot, the actual problem is that the specific zipper is worn and needs to be replaced. Since I have made more of an effort to check the zippers on my pants before leaving for work, it’s been less and less of a deal.

    The other thing I watch for is pants that have gotten a bit tight on me (weight gain, garment shrinkage, whatever reason). I take those pants out of my closet and later decide to repair/replace.

    My reason for saying all this is because this is how I make a silent apology. I cut directly to checking to see if I can do something to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Once I take action steps, I am much less concerned with how to apologize.

  22. Morning Reader*

    For LW3, I recommend the chronic condition script for another reason. Herpes is extremely common but most people don’t have as severe an experience with it. So if you tell someone that’s why you need so much sick or work-at-home time, there’s a 50% chance they have herpes too but can’t understand why it’s such a big deal for you. It would be like wanting to take sick time for your period every month. Yes, periods are that severe for some people, and herpes is that severe for some people, but most people who experience those conditions will not understand (without a medical background or similar knowledge) why you are so affected.
    Saying too much could make you look like a slacker (in the negative sense) or force your boss to educate herself about herpes more than it should be her role. So yeah, chronic condition. And sympathies on the herpes. Had a coworker friend who got it in her eye, didn’t usually need time off but had to be super careful with risk to her eyesight during a flare up.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I was thinking this too — I’ve known a lot of people with herpes, of both types, including myself, and none of us have ever needed multiple weeks of downtime to get over a flareup. So your experience is probably rather outside of most peoples’ experiences. For that reason alone, I’d stick with an unidentified chronic condition rather than specifying what it is, because I guarantee you someone is gonna go “Seriously? You need two weeks in bed to get over a COLD SORE? Get some Abreva and walk it off.”

  23. Canadian Yankee*

    LW 1 – really the only way to handle this is if you can present a report with an itemized list of ongoing activities that need to be done (or increased if they’re already being done) to increase productivity. Use passive voice whenever possible.

    Then it’s up to the owners to either step up and do those things themselves, or to hire new staff to do those things. Of course, hiring new staff decreases profit margins, but again, that’s their decision to make as owners of the company.

    1. Sleepless*

      That’s what I think. They supposedly hired the LW to help them address issues they can’t see. Who knows, they might appreciate an outside voice giving them a kick in the pants. Definitely keep the passive voice though.

      1. redwinemom*

        That is also how I would deal with the owners. I’m thinking the goal is to come up with tasks and actions that they are not currently doing to help increase sales.
        I’m not sure what those would be, but perhaps things like set up speaking engagements to educate people on how to get a house/building ready for a sale, which magazines/online sites would be good to advertise in, suggesting alternative locations/counties they could look into that are just become popular for people to retire to, etc.

  24. MissDisplaced*

    Fly was down: If it’s after the fact, don’t say anything. It sounds weird to apologize for it, because then it would seem like you’re focused on it. It’s just one of those strange things in life.

    5. I run two fan accounts for musicians — can it go on my resume?
    YES! If you are trying to get into the music business, this actually is a pretty good demonstration of managing the social media and fan relations for an artist. The fact that you don’t get paid doesn’t matter. It’s especially good that you’ve had actual interaction and direction from the artist’s management team over a period of time, making this much more than a hobby. Would it be possible to actually get a recommendation or reference from anyone you’ve worked with regularly from that one artist’s team? It could help even more if they’re willing to vouch for you and your work with them. I hope this leads you to your dream job.

    1. LW5*

      Thank you!! I was thinking about that, with the reference/recommendation — I suspect the smaller artist’s manager would give me one if I asked. The other perk of this “job” is that I’ve had some contact with a PR team that used to rep one of my artists, and I was planning to ask them about how she got her job, what they recommend for someone starting out, etc. Not sure I’m close enough with them to get a proper recommendation, but at least I have some connections!

      1. Sandi*

        An active yet seemlingly-passive way to do this is to say “I’m interested in a job in your field. Please don’t feel any obligation, but if you happen to see a job where you think I might be a good fit then please feel free to mention it.”
        That way you might be able to get a recommendation in a roundabout way, as they have recommended the job to you, yet you aren’t explicitly pushing for her to find you a job. Make it seem like you’re only wanting to ask for her help if it will help her too.

        1. LW5*

          Ohhh I love that script. I’m still learning now, not yet applying anywhere, but I’ll keep that line in mind!

  25. Sara without an H*

    Hi, OP#2 — This has happened at some point to everyone who has ever worn trousers. Depending on what else you were wearing, it’s possible that your co-workers didn’t notice the problem. There’s no need to call attention to it by apologizing after the fact, and Alison is right that doing so would add unnecessary awkwardness.

  26. Distractinator*

    LW3 – while I like Alison’s script for bringing it up with your boss as a plan, I’d consider handling it unplanned. Just wait until your next flare-up, then tell your boss “I’m not feeling great, I’ve got a recurring medical condition that flares up occasionally. In the past I’ve always come in and powered through, but during pandemic I was surprised to find how much faster I recovered. Would it be okay for me to work from home this week? I’ve got X, Y, Z on my schedule and that will go just fine remote, though I may ask Fergus to help with [otherthing].” And then as the week wraps up, you can discuss it as a “this does recur a couple of times a year, is this the right way to handle it?” question.

    And honestly, if they object to WFH, I’d consider taking some sick days – if that’s part of your benefits package, this is what it’s for!

  27. I Love Llamas*

    OP #2, don’t worry. We all have wardrobe malfunctions. My most notable (and I have had many in my career) was several years ago. I was honored to be a part of a tour for a global company’s CEO. This company has over 80K employees. The tour was videoed, photographed — you name it. It was a big deal. I had a small 5-10 minute walking presentation. I wore a nice suit, looked great, nailed the presentation and sauntered back to my office all pleased with myself. That is when one of my colleagues pointed out my zipper had been down the entire time…..and I’m a middle-aged woman. We think it went unnoticed, but who knows. I still chuckle when I think about it.

    1. Lucy P*

      It does happen to everyone at some point. In my very early twenties, as I was concluding an interview and the interviewer was showing me out, the top button popped off of my blouse. Then came the question, do I bend over and pick it up or just leave it and hug my portfolio tight to my chest so that I’m not exposing myself? I picked it up (it was a fancy button not easily replaced) and still hugged my portfolio to my chest. I just politely said, “excuse me, I dropped something,”and picked up my button.

    2. JustaTech*

      I was on a (very rare) business trip to one of our manufacturing sites for a meeting with Big Deal government people when one side of the zipper of my pants just ripped clean out. There’s no way to fix *that* in the bathroom. So I untucked my shirt, buttoned my jacket firmly and sailed on, pretending nothing was wrong. Thankfully I got a chance to change before the flight home.

    3. Kevin harris*

      I think being able to laugh after the fact that my fly was open, makes it easier to forget about it.

  28. voyager1*

    Pretty disappointed in Alison’s answer. STIs are not covered by the ADA, so getting accommodations for working from home could be tough.

    If the LW is out 2–3 times a year for over a week, that could use all the sick time.

    I hate to say this, but if you mention chronic condition it will be on your employer to ask about it for accommodations. Since HSV is not covered then you are sort of on your own.

    You’re probably just going to have to keep doing what you have been preCOVID. I know that is kind of a sucky answer. I would not bring it up if I knew my team lead was a “stickler” about things.

    1. Kimmy Schmidt*

      For the most part, the ADA doesn’t list specific conditions or disabilities that are covered, only that the condition is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual”. These activities include things like “caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working”. So, based on the severity, OP could be covered.

      Additionally, one of the few specific conditions noted in the ADA is HIV. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to conclude that other STIs can meet the bar for ADA coverage.

    2. Reba*

      They are not asking for ADA accommodation, just for the boss’s discretionary flexibility regarding work from home.

      Mentioning a chronic condition does not like automatically launch an ADA process!

      You’re right though that they may not get anywhere, and should weigh the potential cost of making the request. But, the mandatory WFH during lockdowns present a great opportunity to ask for renegotiation of this stuff. Many workplaces, sticklers or not, will be managing these kinds of requests for greater flexibility, and they will have to realize that employees who value it will eventually leave.

    3. Cat Tree*

      This is an aside since LW and Alison didn’t mention ADA, but I’m curious how you arrived at the conclusion that some chronic diseases are excluded because they are sexually transmitted. Did this come up at a place you worked?

      1. Observer*

        @voyager1 is actually incorrect that STIs are not covered. Coverage is not determined by cause but by effect.

        1. Cat Tree*

          I know that the commenter is incorrect, which is why I’m curious where the belief came from. I hope it’s not that a previous employer had this false belief and acted illegally because of it.

        2. Self Employed*

          Besides the ADA not having a checklist of specific diagnoses that are covered or not, LW doesn’t have genital herpes anyhow. Yes, you CAN get oral herpes from oral sex, but that’s like saying the ADA isn’t going to cover COVID-19 because you could catch it while having sex.

          The problem LW faces is that she is that sick and the lesions can threaten her eyesight. That’s definitely going to meet the threshold of “limiting daily activities of living”.

    4. Observer*

      , but if you mention chronic condition it will be on your employer to ask about it for accommodations.

      Nope. The boss can and should ask if this is something that requires an ADA accommodation. The OP is not required to explain if they say no.

      And there is absolutely no reason the OP can’t ask for WFH, as long as they are getting their work done. Sure, their boss could say no, but the idea that there is a problem with even asking is silly,

    5. Colette*

      The legal requirements are minimums, not maximums. A reasonable employer will want to minimize the amount of time an employee is sick, just because it is in their best interests to have employees at their best.

    6. Metadata minion*

      It sounds like the LW wants to work from home, not use sick time, for those 2-3 weeks/year. It’s certainly possible that the boss will decide to be a jerk about it given their past behavior, but it can’t hurt to ask. If the initial conversation doesn’t go well, then they can look into formal ADA accommodations.

    7. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This isn’t accurate.

      That’s not how the ADA works! Just because a condition isn’t covered under it, an employer can still choose to accommodate someone. The law is a minimum, not a maximum.

      Also, as others have said, the ADA doesn’t list or exclude specific conditions (other than specifically including HIV); it’s based on how severe the effects on your life are.

  29. Darlingpants*

    LW #3, if you get flu like symptoms at the beginning of your flare, your workplace might have a long term change in how they treat people coming work sick. Just because you know it’s probably a flare and not contagious doesn’t mean it might not be the actual flu (or COVID). If you don’t want to disclose your personal health status you could try advocating for a company or group wide policy that anyone who thinks they’re coming down with something gets to work from home until it resolves.

  30. blink14*

    OP #5 – Absolutely include these on your resume! I’ve worked in indie music promotion and management since the early 2000s in major US Northeast markets – mostly as a side job, both paid and unpaid. This is exactly the type of work you may be asked to do in music marketing, but also shows deep commitment to the industry and the artists you promote. You have the ability to a part of a worldwide marketing campaign and you are able to communicate effectively with both artists and their management.

    However, music business is an incredibly difficult sector of the industry these days, even before COVID hit. The evolution of the industry, which changed drastically after the 2009 recession, has changed even more with how widespread music streaming has become. What it looks like now is not what it was even 3 years ago, much less 5 or 10, or back to when I first started almost 20 years ago. You may find that unpaid or low pay work is going to be your best bet to build up a reputation for yourself, so do not be disheartened if a full time job is difficult to come by. In the Northeast of the US, where I’m based, the industry has been devastated by COVID shut downs and is going to take years to make a full comeback. This is going to be similar for many US markets and worldwide.

    If you find yourself in a position where you need to seek a job in a different industry, use your experience as a way to show your unique personality! I included working on a crowd funded album campaign as part of my interviews with my current job, and I think it both showed real organizational skill but also was just an interesting piece of information that made me stand out a little more.

    Good luck!!!

    1. LW5*

      Thank you so much for the reply! I’m very aware of the state of the industry right now, unfortunately; luckily my partner has a job that pays well enough that I can sort of “take what I can get,” for lack of a better phrase.

      Right now I’m taking an intro to music business class on edX, and it’s super interesting because the video lectures were recorded in 2013ish — I can already see the huge difference! That’s part of the reason why I’m fascinated by the industry, honestly; I’m in tech now, and I love watching how fast both industries change and evolve.

      I’m not yet at the point where I’m applying for jobs (see above re: intro class on edX, lol) but it’s good to know how much this experience will help :)

      1. blink14*

        That sounds like a great start! I think gathering as much education as you can through classes like that or real life experience are the best way to go. I know so many people who have music business or entertainment business degrees and they are working in non related industries.

        I also would suggest looking into music engineering classes or a certificate. That would be hugely beneficial if you end up more in the live music sector, it’s a great skill to have. The indie music world has a lot of multi-faceted musicians, and I learned a ton along the way from from musician friends on music engineering basics. It’s so helpful to know how to run a basic sound board, you never know what may come up. I’ve done everything from merch sales to working the door, to online and street promo, to management and booking, to tour coordination the Northeast. The more you can jump in to learn some of those skills, the better prepared you’ll be!

        1. LW5*

          I have some of those classes bookmarked, too! I used to ply an instrument but I know literally nothing about engineering or producing; it’s like magic to me, and I want to know at least the basics. I’m hoping to get as well-rounded as I can, since I’m not 100% sure what I want to do yet…

          Again, thank you so much for your replies <3

  31. jolene*

    LW4, you’re fine. If the message hasn’t got through to the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, who are deeply embedded in the church and call themselves Mormons multiple times every episode, the church clearly hasn’t done a good job of informing its own constituents of the name change.

    That series has been quite eye-opening. I didn’t realise the LDS only admitted black followers in 1978.

    1. Brett*

      Black followers could be members and could be baptized, but black men could not hold the priesthood (unlike other churches, nearly all men hold the priesthood) and neither black men nor black women could participate in certain extremely important temple ceremonies. In West Africa, in particular, this meant that few people were baptized before 1978 since there were few priests living there and missionaries to the region were still rare.

      Part of the time I was active in the CoJCLCS, I lived in South Chicago. I met several men who had been members since the 1960s and were among the very first black men in the world to be ordained. Talking to them about their experiences during that time was pretty fascinating.

  32. the Viking Diva*

    Agree with the straightforward approach of Alison’s response to OP4, but it still seems like a very long explanation. about something that seems minor in the bigger picture. Why not just add an asterisk the first time the term is used and add
    *Style guides now use (preferred term)

      1. Self Employed*

        If the OP has a PDF of the article, they could add a comment in the top margin (or wherever it works, if it’s a layout with graphics) with the disclaimer. If OP only has free Adobe Reader and it wants you to upgrade to do this, there are free apps that can edit PDFs (including Preview that comes with MacOSX, which I prefer in general to Adobe Reader).

  33. Lily*

    The bosses in #1 is my uncle. He’s a “successful businessman” running a highly specialized sales thing out of his back yard building. Which means he’ll drive around a lot and occasionally does sell something but nothing near a full day of work. I can easily see how he thinks he’s working full time, though – lots of driving and thinking but just not many results.
    The family’s life is fully paid by my aunt’s work.

    1. Self Employed*

      My first job was for a lawyer who was “in house counsel” for a video slot machine company and they may have just compensated him with free office space. He mainly did bankruptcies and set up tax-reduction strategies for his golfing buddies.

  34. LGC*

    I love this site because I learn something new every day.

    (Today: how to properly refer to the Church of LDS and its members AND how Germans refer to cold sores.)

  35. Mr Jingles*

    While it is the decent thing to stop using a term to describe people who clearly stated they don’t want it to be used anymore, it is utter nonsens to pretend that word never existed. I for example didn’t know that the members of that church don’t want tobecalled ‘mormons’ any longer. So don’t try to erase it from existence. Wouldn’t work anyway. Mention the developement and use the chance to educate people. It shows great character to acknowledge chance and accepting it where it is beneficial. So Alisons advice is spot on.
    Had she not added the term in the letter as an explanation the self-censorship would have prevented education and the flow of information. That is why a journalist should alsways own their past work and explain where neccessary instead of hiding a text in shame that was absolutely fine when it was written.
    I deeply despise wannabe PC’s who try to shame writers for stuff they wrote long before the points of view about their topics changed. Judge people on their actions today, judge them on how they deal with it now and let the past rest if people where behaving in good faith and show they’re willing to fix things when they get new information.
    It is just silly to assume the worst because of something somebody did before they knew better.

    1. kt*

      Why are you bringing PCness into this? How is that relevant to the conversation?

      It sounds like you’re trying to make a journalistic style guidance question into a culture wars question. That’s really unpleasant.

      1. Something Something Whomp Whomp*

        FWIW, someone who is fairly far removed from journalism or any form of content development may not be aware of just how prescriptive journalistic style guides are. Without that context, all of this could easily appear to be about political correctness. Heck, it’s not even unlikely that someone who’s never taken a college writing course would have little or no exposure to style guides. All reasons to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

    2. I'm just here for the cats*

      I didn’t realize the name prefrence either. I am curious how the term Morman may work in the future. For example there is a portion of land and a major highway/street in my city that is named after Mormons. Think Mormon Creek avenue. It’s in reference to the Mormons who settled the area in the 1800’s and in observance of the problems they faced settling the area.

      1. Brett*

        Proper names using the word “Mormon” are to be specifically retained according to both the style guide and official messaging from the church. (For example, the Book of Mormon will continue to be called the Book of Mormon.)

    3. Sylvan*

      For most professional writers, following a style guide is a job requirement. It’s not self-censorship and it’s not necessarily about political correctness. For the most part, it’s about consistency and accessibility to an audience.

      OP seems to be following AP style. AP’s guidance on the word “Mormon” changed in 2019, and OP’s clip predates the change. That’s what they’re concerned about, not their own opinion on the word “Mormon” or yours or mine.

      1. Sylvan*

        Additionally, OP trying to educate others on their field about this could come across as pretty weird. Anyone who looks at OP’s clips is likely to follow the same style guide or have some familiarity with it.

  36. Regular Human Accountant*

    LW #2: my husband recently preached an entire sermon with his fly down. It was live-streamed and now lives forever on YouTube. The entire congregation is pretending it didn’t happen–if they even noticed, which I suspect many did not. So . . . it could be worse! And also the best thing to do is ignore it; I’m sure your co-worker would rather you do that than call attention to it.

  37. Maseca*

    LW3 – I never knew those other symptoms could accompany cold sores/herpes outbreaks and now I’m questioning a lot of my own experiences with them. I only get outbreaks every 5-6 year, but when I do, the sores last well over a month, sometimes 2 months, and nothing OTC makes them budge (even European OTC acyclovir cream, which seems to work great for everyone else in my family). I recently got an outbreak that’s been spawning new sores every few days for over 2 months. I don’t wear makeup anymore because of remote work, I take lysine and vitamin C supplements, I don’t touch them except to lightly spread on the ointment … but I have felt like a leper for months now. Finally realized I needed to email my doctor because nothing I’ve tried works. I’ve also had the fatigue/flu symptoms lately and didn’t connect them at all beyond worrying that they might all be signs of COVID or the hormonal result of the many stresses of *waves hand at 2020-21 thus far*. I guess there’s no real point to this except – I’m sorry your flare-ups are so debilitating, I hope you get the go-ahead to work from home as needed, and thank you for shedding some light on a condition that’s been causing me a ton of anxiety lately!

  38. Workerbee*

    #2 I’d say you are reasonably safe in assuming it wasn’t noticed. I do have only myself for anecdotal evidence, but generally I’m looking at a person’s face when interacting.

    About the only times I’ve noticed crotches of male coworkers is when the owner of said crotch can’t stop adjusting, jingling a bank’s worth of coins, or otherwise unable to keep his hands away.

  39. AliceCW*

    #1 – I was in your exact situation and wanted to share my experience, as well the options I considered when leaving. My old boss had just started his own real estate brokerage when I was brought in to handle operations, marketing, and and in-bound lead generation. I got licensed right away to be able to help with everything and pretty soon I found myself working 7 days a week and being on-call to respond to leads 24/7. Since I was doing so much, I felt integral to the company and drove myself into burnout so that I “wouldn’t let the company down.” My boss rarely came into the office, he ignored my emails for weeks on end, dodged my calls, and when we finally would have a meeting, he would lament how the business wasn’t going as well as it could have (while ignoring all of my spreadsheets, action plans, etc).

    I put everything I had into improving our operations, our marketing, and our lead generation strategy and he sabotaged it through inaction. If your bosses aren’t valuing your ideas and opinions, get out before you start internalizing that. I was lucky to have a phenomenal support system who reminded me that just because the company was failing, didn’t mean that I was a failure, but I hit some really low points.

    There are so many real estate brokerages and teams out there that would love to have your knowledge, ideas, and enthusiasm. I would recommend putting out feelers into your network and looking for job listings to find a new brokerage or team that is already producing on a consistent basis. (You can search that on your MLS, if you have access, or through Zillow to see the previous year’s production.) That shows they have already have some framework in place that is working. I considered joining a team, but I was already licensed and had met the requirements for my Managing Broker license, so I left and started my own firm. It was scary and hard (the state approved my application in early April 2020…so that was fun), but I know there is actually room for me to grow now. I hope that you find a place where you have room to grow, whether in real estate or not. Systems and consistency are what make real estate agents thrive and you sound like you would be an asset to any company who recognizes that! Good luck!

    1. Writer of #1*

      Thank you so much for this response and for the kind words. It definitely sounds like you’ve been in my exact situation before. After reading everyone’s comments my goal is to transition out as painlessly as possible. Best of luck to you on your firm!!

  40. nnn*

    For #1: I agree with Alison that it isn’t your job to figure out a way to get through to them. But if, for whatever reason, you are in a conversation about how to increase productivity or do more business, it could be useful to point out what exactly they should/could be doing that they aren’t already, rather than just “work more”.

    For example, are they accepting every client who comes to them to buy or sell real estate? If no, you could say “We turned down three clients in the past month. If we want to increase productivity, we could see if we could fit in more of the clients who are coming to us.”

    If they are already accepting every client who comes to them, then you could recommend specific things that real estate brokers do to attract clients that they aren’t doing already.

    “Work more” is obvious and/or insufficiently informative. If you do end up having this conversation, it would be more fruitful to point out the specific kinds of work they’re leaving undone or leaving on the table.

    1. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      I mean, yes but the LW is 22 years old! It seems obvious that the business owners don’t really expect her to be their rainmaker. They brought her on to do the tasks they didn’t want to do at all. My strong advice to the LW would be to look for a new job ASAP, with a laserlike focus, because you will be expendable when your current “firm” finally runs dry and you run the risk of not getting a good reference because they are mad at you for not making/saving them more money!

      1. Writer of #1*

        Advice received! I was originally hired as an assistant to answer emails and suddenly I am in charge of all of our long-term business strategy. (Talk about being both extremely under-qualified and unbelievably under-paid… it’s an interesting combination). In this situation my hands are tied because no matter how successful my marketing and business strategies are, if the only licensed person in our office (my boss) is never available, I could bring in thousands of clients and productivity would never increase. Needless to say I’m not exactly set up for success in my current position. I’m hoping to transition to a new company as soon as possible.

  41. Ally McBeal*

    OP1 – that question is a trap, do not respond. Your bosses might not even intend for it to be a trap, but it’s a trap.

    I once had a terrible boss who, because I’d been at the company longer and had worked with his peers, asked me what his peers did to be successful that he should consider adopting. We had this conversation after work, over beers and a pretzel that he paid for, so I assumed he wanted me to be forthright. (Things like “Fergus’s clients love him because he always picks up the phone when they call, whereas you prefer to set up meetings in advance, so if you’re able to be more flexible, that might appeal to your clients.”) He… apparently did not. He went to the CEO and misrepresented what I’d said to him as “she said Fergus is better than me because XYZ” and tried to get me fired. Fortunately the CEO said “hmm, that doesn’t sound like her” and declined to fire me, but somehow still dinged me both on my performance review and in my bonus/raise that year.

    My best friend has also been hired for roles where her job was to improve morale and productivity, and she was set up for failure from the start (it was a govt agency, so we weren’t entirely surprised that they were resistant to change). You’ve been tasked with something that’s either extremely difficult or entirely Sisyphean, so the most you’ll likely be able to do is make small changes – cleaning up their sales database, researching ways for them to passively (or at least with minimal effort on their part) attract more clients, etc. Good luck with your job search.

    1. Writer of #1*

      It seems like for myself and for your best friend “we want you to increase productivity” actually meant “we want you to somehow magically fix all of our problems without anything having to change.” Thank you for your advice! Getting insights from everyone’s comments has been extremely helpful, especially since I am rather young.

      1. Observer*

        In the meantime, do make the small. marginal changes. It will keep you busy with real work even though they don’t change the fundamentals, they are useful things to know how to do, they are things you can talk about in an interview (unlike explaining how you recognized that your bosses are never going to grow the business if they won’t work more), and they are things that you can report back to your bosses in a “See all the things I am doing” way. You want to keep them happy if you can till you find a new job.

  42. RagingADHD*

    Keeping your herpes diagnosis to yourself isn’t about stigma.

    It’s because unless you’re a sex worker, nobody at your job needs an update on the condition of your genitals: what type they are, what you do with them, procedures you’ve had on them, their health, or anything else.

    You have a chronic condition that flares up. That’s enough.

  43. CatDad*

    LW#4: Would it be possible to ask the publisher of your article if you could include an edit under the byline saying that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a notice asking journalists to no longer refer to members as “Mormons” after the publication of this article? I’m not familiar enough with journalism to know if this is helpful advice but maybe this could assuage your concerns as well as help inform anyone who reads your article in the future!

Comments are closed.